A Return to Integrity in Animation: A Liberal Arts Approach to Improving the Academic & Spiritual Influence of Animated Television Shows for Children
School of Communication and the Arts
Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art (MFA)
Ronald L. Sumner
Animation, Cartoons, Looney Tunes, Rollerbot, Television
Art and Design | Fine Arts
Jacinto, Arnulfo M.G. Jr, "A Return to Integrity in Animation: A Liberal Arts Approach to Improving the Academic & Spiritual Influence of Animated Television Shows for Children" (2021). Masters Theses. 742.
This study examines the degradation of ethical, academic, and moral subject matter that has been increasing in animation and children’s programing since the 1980s. Prior to that time, cartoons were infused with silly humor, clean jokes, age-appropriate subject matter, and traditional values and morals. However, over the last forty years, cartoons are now including graphic violence and sexual innuendos while promoting the acceptance and tolerance of rebellious behavior, inappropriate language, and crude jokes. Within the last 10 years children’s programing has begun mainstreaming the LGBTQ+ lifestyle while steering away from or even attacking traditional Christian beliefs, principles, and values. Christian animation such as the popular 1950s and 1960s television program Davey and Goliath and the 1990s program VeggieTales deal with subject matter directly from Biblical stories and Scripture. Although these programs illustrate stories and morals from Scripture, they do not portray typical everyday subjects or situations to which non-religious children or families can relate. Although Davey and Goliath did deal with a little boy’s questions and dilemmas, they did this within the format of a Biblical setting. Unfortunately, by their very nature as Christian or religious programs, the format and subject matter of Davey and Goliath and VeggieTales generally has not engaged groups of non-believers, atheists, agnostics, and secular educators and scientists. This study presents the researcher’s characters, the Rollerbots, the Elite 7, and the Librarians of Historical Culture and Knowledge as a viable alternative for the future of animation. A cartoon featuring these characters would fill this void and work together to address these secular worldview issues and situations, not only from a child’s viewpoint but those of an adolescent and adult as well. Topics and information will be brought forth with scholarly answers to questions from a Christian worldview allowing the truth and principles of the Scriptures to penetrate young hearts and minds without the overtly religious overtone that may alienate non-religious viewers.